Phil Elverum brought the songs of his latest release as Mount Eerie, the heartbreaking A Crow Looked At Me, to Brooklyn's Murmrr Theatre on Monday (9/11) night. The show, which was the first of two nights in Brooklyn, is part of a solo tour around the album's release. The songs on A Crow Looked At Me are so stark and painfully honest about grief that hearing them live is a particularly intense experience, especially in an intimate venue. Connor McInerney of DC Music Download, who saw Mount Eerie recently in Washington DC, writes:

Elverum took the stage, engaging in some polite conversation with the audience, thanking everyone for coming before quickly segueing into “Real Death.” While Crow is lauded for its intimacy and sparse instrumentation as a musical release, the ability to consume it individually and on one’s own terms enables a certain distance between the artist and the listener, a distance that lets its subject matter become desensitized and accessible. In a live setting, I witnessed Mount Eerie in its truest and most raw form as a musical project: a man, a guitar, and a story to tell. Any ability to isolate myself from Elverum’s experience was rendered null; you feel, as close as you possibly can, to his trauma and pain. It is this unforgiving experience that made Mount Eerie’s performance the unforgettable and powerful art it is meant to be.

The recent memory of Geneviève Castrée Elverum, the one year anniversary of her passing, the incredible realness of the man performing before me who raised the daughter they bore together, all comprised something visceral and genuine that few performers can begin to approach. The format of Elverum’s storytelling, a rambling, arhythmic soliloquy, peppered within important dates and locations to the story of his marriage, lends itself beautifully to this experience in the sense that his music is a powerful narrative first and foremost, and that the medium of music is secondary.

Elverum found time in the second half of his set to transition to more lighthearted, occasionally humorous subject matter–one song in particular describes a conversation he had with Father John Misty at a music festival as he was “singing songs about death to kids on drugs.” It is hard to say, between Elverum and the audience, who was better served by the relief of laughter after macabre. At its core, the transition served as a reminder to the duality of death, of grief and acceptance.

Check out pictures from Monday night's Murmrr Theatre show in the gallery above.

While in NYC, Phil Elverum performed a few songs for Stereogum on Facebook; watch video of that below.


photos by P Squared

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